LANCASTER, Texas -- For the entire summer, Daeshon Hall contemplated. Texas or Washington? And the choice had little to do with football recruiting.
Hall, a three-star defensive end at Lancaster (Texas) High School, seriously considered finishing his high school career in the Pacific Northwest at Seattle's Garfield High, mere minutes from his future college home of Washington. Originally from Seattle, Hall had been asked by family members in the area to bring his talents back home so they could see what a standout prospect he’s become.
For a while, the 6-foot-6, 235-pounder looked as though he would oblige. But when Hall ultimately decided that Texas was home for him -- at least for one more year -- it sent shock waves and jubilation through the Lancaster faithful.
“It was like Christmas for us,” Lancaster coach Chris Gilbert said. “And Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, too.”
Truth be told, to lose a player of Hall’s caliber would have been a major blow for a Lancaster defense that, with him in the lineup, ranks among the best defenses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Hall is a prototypical speed rusher who has been impressive in each outing. He's a big reason why the Tigers (5-0) are ranked No. 2 in the state among Class 4A teams.
“Without him, I’m not sure where we’d be,” ESPN Watch List receiver Nick Alexander said. “He’s a very important part of our team, because he’s so competitive.
“It would have definitely been deflating if he didn’t come back," Gilbert added. "Here’s a kid who’s made such an impact on the team, not just as a player but as someone who is well liked on the team. The guys love Dae Dae.”
Hall, a college prospect in both football and basketball, took his decision all the way to the 11th hour. He actually missed Lancaster’s two-a-day football workouts.
“Basically, I just worked out the whole summer in Seattle,” Hall said. “I was preparing for wherever I was going to be. I understood that in Seattle, I probably wouldn’t be getting the best football, but I’d get good basketball.
“Football’s what I’m going to be playing at the next level, so I decided to come back and get better and just try to help us win state here. My mom told me to do what was best for me, and my friends and coaches [at Lancaster] pretty much convinced me to come back.”
In addition to football training, Hall also spent time playing AAU basketball in Washington for Seattle Rotary. He has Pac-12 basketball offers from Washington and Washington State, and while he said being a two-sport athlete for the Huskies was enticing, he chose to turn down the opportunity.
Two Lancaster teammates hoping for his return were 2013 DT George Ramos and 2014 athlete Derrick Leonard. Ramos is a two-way lineman, and Leonard spends the majority of his time teaming with Hall as an outside linebacker.
“When I first heard he might not be coming back, it kind of hurt me. It felt like I was losing a blood brother,” Leonard said. “We play on the same side, and if we were balling together, I knew that would be a good thing. I was excited when he said he was coming back.”
Ramos added: “Playing against him as an offensive lineman, if you don’t get off the ball fast enough, you’re going to get beat, point blank. Can we say unstoppable? Plus, he’s gotten a lot better with his hands, too.”
Gilbert defines Hall as a player “with a relentless motor,” and his upside -- to go along with his size -- could be the biggest reason why he was so heavily recruited. Hall originally committed to Texas in February, but he decommitted to explore his options. He ultimately chose Washington at the end of June. He had offers from Texas A&M, TCU, Notre Dame, LSU and others.
What Gilbert likes most about Hall is his willingness to learn as much as possible about the game. Hall is one of those players who arrives at practice early, stays late and loves watching film. He’s also constantly asking questions -- despite being a high-major recruit.
“He’s asked us if he could play offensive tackle,” Gilbert said. “He feels like if knows how to play tackle, he’ll know how to beat the tackle. He’s volunteered to play tackle on more than one occasion.”
Gilbert said Hall’s work ethic and drive make him one of those players who can shine on Saturdays and potentially see time on a defensive line on Sundays. For now, Gilbert’s just glad to see Hall playing for Lancaster on Fridays.
“I don’t know if we could have replaced 6-6, 235 and lightning quick off the edge,” Gilbert said. “I’m glad we don’t have to worry about that anymore.”
“I’m glad I stayed. I felt like I made the right choice,” Hall added. “I’ll get back [to Washington] next year. Right now, I’m here to help us keep winning and getting better. We’re battling hard every day to get ready to beat the top-ranked opponents.”